The ingredients that make for a great day of skiing – sun, wind rushing by your face, high altitudes and cold temperatures – can do a real number on your skin. Below, we examine how each of these elements damages skin. We also provide recommendations on how to protect your skin before heading to the mountains, and how to best nourish it after a hard day of skiing, snowboarding or sledding.
How Wind Damages Skin
Red, irritated skin is a common aftereffect of a snow play day. When wind blows on the same patch of exposed skin over the course of a day, windburn can occur. Like sandpaper tearing up wood pulp, the friction imposed by wind can chafe your skin and, in extreme conditions, cause blistering.
To protect your skin against the wind, be sure to apply a moisturizer before leaving for the resort or trail. Ultra Comfortable Face Cream, by Nuxe Paris, is an excellent choice. It contains Vitamin E and sunflower derivatives to protect against wind and other external irritants.
If your skin feels ragged and sensitive after a windy day on the slopes, consider applying Tammy Fender’s Intensive Repair Balm, with helichrysum and chamomile to heal damaged skin. This Tammy Fender product also reduces redness and pain while stimulating new cell growth
How Sun Damages Your Skin
The sun is to blame for most signs of aging skin, including wrinkles and age spots. Ultraviolet rays in sunlight damage elastin, a special protein that helps skin retain its shape. In addition to decreased elasticity, repeated exposure to UV rays causes skin to bruise and tear more easily.
Doctors tell us that sun damage begins at a young age and builds up over a lifetime. Age spots, freckles and other skin damage are the result. And let’s not forget that skin cancer, the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States, is rooted in repeated exposure to UV rays.
To protect your skin against the sun, wear sunscreen! Remember, because it reflects off white snow, the sun is even more powerful in the mountains. Bring your tube of sunscreen with you, and reapply every two hours throughout the day. This will offset the fact that sunscreen breaks down under direct sunlight. Aim for an SPF of at least 50, and check to see that your sunscreen contains broad-spectrum ingredients such as mexoryl, titanium and zinc. Don’t forget to protect your eyes as well by wearing UV-blocking shades or goggles.
Sunburns around the eyes are especially painful. If you should happen to get burned here, try applying Skyn Iceland’s Icelandic Relief Eye Cream, a cooling, lightweight product that contains biospheric complex to offset nutrient depletion and stress.
How High Altitudes Damage Skin
When you’re standing at a high altitude, less atmosphere stands between you and the sun. This means there is less protection against UV rays. Lower levels of the atmosphere contain more dust and water molecules, both of which offer some protection from the sun. For this reason, it takes about 25 minutes to get a sunburn in New York, but just 11 minutes to burn at Vail.
To protect your skin against high altitudes, drink lots of water throughout the day, and be prepared for mountain conditions. In addition to sunscreen, you’ll want to pack lip balm. Skiers often find that their lips are extremely chapped after a day on the mountain. Nuxe Paris’ Reve de Miel is a honey-based lip balm that is gentle enough to be used on light burns. Nuxe Paris has created a product that nourishes, softens, soothes and repairs chapped lips.
How Cold Temperatures Damage Skin
The truth is that cold itself doesn’t harm skin. The true culprit is the dryness that comes along with cold winter air. Dry air causes damage to the epidermis, the most superficial layer of skin. The epidermis’s main task is to act as a barrier against harm. It also keeps beneficial nutrients in the body. Dry air damages the epidermis, making it harder for the skin to replenish itself.
To protect your skin against cold temperatures, dress in layers. Cover your face with a ski mask if possible. Consider applying a skin serum as well. Serums and moisturizers help the epidermis create a strong protective barrier. Nuxe Paris’ Serum Merveillance Visible Expression Serum will not only offset damage caused by dry mountain air, it will also reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
One last après-ski habit that your skin will love: Apply a soothing, healing balm at the end of the day. Skyn Iceland’s Pure Cloud Cream is an excellent choice; it is specifically formulated to heal skin damaged by wintery conditions.